Iona Institute NI warmly invites you to

The Sexual Revolution and

Humanae Vitae at 50

St Brigid’s Parish Hall

Derryvolgie Avenue


7pm – 8.30pm

In 1968 the sexual revolution was in full swing. The contraceptive pill had been developed about a decade earlier and approved for use in 1960. This was hailed as a great moment for women’s liberation. At the time, it was hoped and believed that during the period of the second Vatican council and thereafter the Pope would approve the legitimacy of usage of artificial contraception for Catholics. However, in 1968 Pope Paul VI released Humanae Vitae in which he put the issue to rest by arguing that artificial contraception cannot be legitimately used by Catholics. This magisterial document was both controversial and surprising. Now 50 years later the document has lost none of its controversy yet perhaps some of its urgency. The Iona Insitute NI is pleased to facilitate this set of talks on Humanae Vitae. This is an opportunity to re-examine and think through this oft forgotten and often marginalised papal encyclical.

Thursday 31 May 18: Humanae Vitae in Context: Truth and Controversy

In this first talk we will look at the context of Humanae Vitae. We will look at the argumentation surrounding contraception with the advent of the contraceptive pill, and we will look at this thinking in Catholic circles at the time. Not only that, we will explore the various processes that led to the publication of the encyclical and why so many were of the belief that Pope Paul VI would approve Catholic use of the pill.

Thursday 7 June 18: Humanae Vitae: Myths and Key Arguments

This second talk will focus on the key arguments of Humanae Vitae, and see why in fact Pope Paul VI held that all forms of artificial contraception are illegitimate for Catholics. In particular we will see why he held that every occasion of sexual intimacy for married couples must be open to life, without at the same time affirming that married couples must have baby after baby. Indeed we will see that Pope Paul VI himself affirms that there can be legitimate reasons for limiting family size, but that doing so by means of artificial contraception is not an open option.

Thursday 21 June 18: Marriage, Sex, and Family

Following from our second talk in which we looked at the reasoning of the encyclical, in this talk we will look at the vision of marriage, sex, and the family that is adopted in Humanae Vitae. Pope Paul VI was reading Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla, later Pope John Paul II, at the time of writing Humanae VItae. This vision is one that Pope John Paul II continued to articulate throughout his pontificate culminating in his masterful work on the theology of the body. This talk will take us through some of the key themes involved in Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II’s thinking in this regard.

Thursday 28 June 18: God’s Plan for Love and Life: Oppression or Liberation?

In this final talk we will look at what the Church teaches on God’s plan for love and life. We began this series of talks by focusing on the sexual revolution and its promises of liberation for humanity. Pope Paul VI was not numb to these considerations and indeed at the end of the encyclical he considered what effect widespread use of contraception would have on human society, and indeed outlined several prophecies in this regard. Now fifty years later we are in a position to evaluate whether or not he was right in this regard.

Some pictures from our previous End of Life Care event